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Loop Businesses Say They Will Fight Proposal to Charge For Evening Parking

Loop businesses say they will fight attempts by the City to charge for evening parking on City owned lots.

"Don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg," said  Paul Schoomer,  former owner of Paul's Books in the Loop, after learning includes charging $1.00 for evening parking at two City owned lots which currently have no parking fees.

The lots in question are the parking areas behind that stretch to  and to , and the lot behind. The City estimates charging a dollar for night parking would generate at least $210,000 a year.

The business owners attending Tuesday's meeting of the Loop Special Business District said they will fight any effort by the City to impose evening parking fees on the two lots.

"It's very, very important to have free parking," said Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill. "In this economic climate it's a very delicate balance still of who survives in the Loop and who doesn't."

Edwards said it would hurt business and send people to other places that offer free parking. He said it's unfair for the City to focus only on the Loop. "Why not charge a dollar for parking at Centennial Commons, that's parking owned by University City. Why not charge at Heman Park. Why not charge at the library."

Edwards also voiced surprise that no one from City Hall or the City Council had approached the business group to let them know what was happening.

In an email to University City Patch, City Manager Lehman Walker said he has every intention of meeting with the Loop Special Business District to discuss the proposal.

However, he writes that "The correct protocol... is to present it as a proposal to City Council as I have done and then discuss it with the Loop Special Business District if Council is interested in pursuing the proposal."

He added "I would not want to have Council hear from the Loop Special Business District without having heard the proposal from staff beforehand."

jeff March 08, 2011 at 08:30 PM
People will just park in adjoining neighboorhoods to find that "free" spot. So property owners will have to put up with less parking on their own streets and more noise and more trash. The City does not own that entire lot either so don't expect that to work well! And how is legally fair to just pick one parking lot they own? How about charging at Centenial parkway, or Heman park?
Michelle March 08, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I understand what people are saying but at the same time people pay to park in the CWE. I know it's within city limits.
Nora March 09, 2011 at 02:08 AM
How are they going to keep non-library patrons from parking in the library lot? The UCPL lot is often packed evenings and weekends, so even with free parking options library patrons often spill over into the lot behind Cicero's. If the other lots are made to be pay lots, non-library users will take up many of the spots in the library lot, leaving library users out of luck. Or is the city just one step away from making the library lot pay as well?
Gloria Nickerson March 09, 2011 at 05:32 AM
Loop Businesses, I truly feel your sentiments. Through the years I have tirelessly supported and promoted many, many businesses in the Loop. It has become a pattern with the NEW UNIVERSITY CITY COUNCIL to make the rules as they go along. I moved to University City in 1984 and have seen the bad and the good. It began with me in April 2010..a committed citizen who was appointed to the Economic Development Retail Sales Tax Board. After being sworn in by the City Clerk in April 2010, I was not included on any EDRST communications after May 2010, then the City Clerk sent me a letter January 2011 stating I had been removed. One on the University City Council said it was a UNILATERAL DECISION...........There is an agenda and they won't stop till it is complete. I am in agreement with the Loop Businesses that there are several City owned lots in University City...why single out this particular lot? Does U. City really own all of the lot or a portion of it? If you don't stand up now.....you will be packing up and moving........ I know several Municipalities that would welcome your business and the revenue that you would generate for them. Please stand with me and other concerned CITIZENS and BUSINESSES in University City at the next Council meeting, Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 6:30 PM.....please come at least 15 minutes early to fill out a form to speak. Let your voices be publicly heard. United WE Stand DIVIDED we fall. HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR THE LETTER
Holston Black Jr. March 09, 2011 at 06:10 AM
I refrain from going into downtown St. Louis because of parking charges, and many others are doing the same St. Charles and areas West are benefiting from what St. Louis is doing to it self You need in this day and age to make things as easy on people, you want to frequent your facility, as possible. One example and there are many, is the St. Charles Convention Center, its taking millions from St. Louis 's center and still growing. U. City has to become more creative by using what's between their ears, and stop trying to always take the easy way out.
Lucas Tieman March 09, 2011 at 03:00 PM
I'm not really against charging for parking in general, but the simple fact is that charging for these lots will just push more cars into surrounding neighborhoods looking for free parking. Parking gets tight enough at night. If U City is going to start charging for this lot, they need to take additional steps to stop people from parking in residential areas, such as zoned parking passes etc that can be seen in some other metro areas.
Marilyn March 09, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Will this be collected by a person? $$$ In a booth? that's heated and cooled? $$$ Or will parkers pay at a automated mechanical arm? $$$ Will it accept debit cards, credit cards, coin, cash??? $$$$. Who still caries cash?? Great idea...How much will this all cost the city? Who comes up with this stuff? I'll be dining in Clayton; no meter fees enforced past 5:ooPM. They know how to make you feel welcomed (unless you need handicapped parking).
Kim March 09, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Excellent point about the library lot - it is hard enough now to park there. How will the city ensure that the libray lot is reserved for library patrons? Will the libray be forced to hire someone to monitor their lot or will the city take care of that for them?
Paul Gill March 09, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Pay for parking may gain $210,000.00 in revenue for the city, but at what opportunity cost to local business? I frequently park behind Cicero's and Fitz's when eating and shopping in the loop. I typically do this on a whim, and paying for parking probably would deter me from making that choice on occassion. One dollar to park could result in a loss of $50-$100 or more lost in purchases several times a month. I know it seems odd that $1.00 pay parking could have that effect, but I'm certain it would deter me from going as often to the area.
Myra Lopez March 09, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Right now, the evening parking fee is just a suggestion, part of the proposed 2012 budget. Past City administrations have apparently brought up the same idea and it has not proven successful.
Arno Perlow March 12, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Tourist coming to the Loop won't mind paying the Dollar to park. It gives them an added sense of security. Locals should ride their bikes or walk. A healthy and economical way to get around and it eliminates the risk of getting behind the wheel of your car after having a few drinks.
Holston Black Jr. March 12, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Yes ride your bike drunk, you can not only hurt yourself but cause some driver to have an accident. The parking fees will not cause more tourists to come to the Loop, more will be put off by this tactic.
Jeff Brandt March 14, 2011 at 06:03 AM
I park in that lot all the time, at least once a week, and love that it's free. $1 won't break the bank, but I would probably start exploring more creative free parking options.

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